As CU posted last night, Brown is now reduced to protectionist last-refuge stuff which we know is against Mandelson’s better judgement. So how about this for an early test case ?
Our good friends Gazprom – yup, them as will be providing ever more of that gas we are going to need so much – look to be a bidder* for the Lindsey Oil Refinery and associated assets. Current owners Total have had enough of all the Union disputes – a bit of an irony, eh ? We know how much inward investors love Union trouble.
Now this is a prime piece of infrastructure. And not just a big refinery: there is a large and very efficient gas-fired power-plant integrated with it (though that is in separate ownership). Seems to fit the bill for a big Brown ‘no’, based on what we’ve seen leaked last night.
At the very same time, the FT reveals that Labour is going to let fly with a dirigiste policy on security of gas supply. A great time to go pissing off Gazprom, eh ?
So, Mandy - what’s a girl to do ? Ask your chum Deripaska, perhaps ...
*PS: it’s being suggested Gazprom would have to pay around £1 bn for this lot. I doubt it – as we’ve commented several times before, Gazprom never pays cash for anything. They’d do an ‘asset swap’ with Total, who’d get a piece of some remote Siberian gas-field in return.